I’ve held on to grudges for many years now, and finally met the people I’ve had grudges on. They’re actually cool now, but I just couldn’t let go of the anger and hatred for them.
All of the rumors they’ve spread, all of the lies, and things they’ve stolen, all of the insults and mockery. Their faces alone just tips me off… But I try to be cool.
Are there any ways for me to break these dark flashbacks? The memories of the past haunts me to this very day. I need to learn how to let go of my grudges.
It’s hard to say what your “reasons” are for keeping these past grudges. I can list some basic reasons, none may actually apply to you. But I can take a guess…
– It feels GOOD to become emotionally aroused. Anger and resentment are powerful arousals. And I’m not talking sexually aroused, I’m talking emotionally excited. Emotions are the most addictive elements of our lives! Anything that picks up our heart beats, or makes us flush with anger, or excitement, or resentment, is going to have an aspect that we able as “good.” So it makes sense that feeling angry about past hurts is hard to let go of because it can feel GOOD to be angry at other people.
– It can feel good to see ourselves as a sympathetic hero who’s being victimized by those other “bad” people. We can actually use this frame to help us achieve more actually.
– Sometimes we identify with our traumas in such a way that we don’t want to let them go… because we fool ourselves into thinking that those traumas are an integral part of our story. Maybe you fear who you’ll be if you don’t have these past traumas? For example, if you no longer see yourself as the guy who was bullied and picked up… then what? Nobody wants to be just the regular guy who has no interesting back story, sorta speak.
– Past grudges aren’t about the people who hurt us… it’s about us. Often we try to pretend we’re so angry at people for hurting us, while we completely ignore how we continue to hurt ourselves. The trauma isn’t what matters – it’s how you internalize that trauma that matters. Perhaps you’re still angry at yourself for how you handled things back then, or how you were “too nice” to confront certain people when they were being rude or mean? And now it’s too late to stand up for yourself and perhaps this creates anxiety and resentment and even self anger.
The “cure” is to dig into your own head to FEEL the WHY… WHY does this still even matter? It might not be obvious but it’s in there. I listed a few above that might help you determine “why” these past incidents even still matter.
And when you isolate the WHY it’s your job to resolve it within yourself… with forgiveness of course.
Not to forget, just to forgive.
I’ve seen people write down their inner angers and hurts, and then burnt the paper as a symbol of letting go. This type if inner work is what creates confident happy people.
Letting go doesn’t mean that it’s “okay” that others were dicks. It just means that you’re growing up in a happy positive way while also feeling the confidence that if you experience something similar in the future that you can handle yourself.
Being angry is okay when it’s honest and temporary, but it’s basically self harm if you try to hold onto it. Think of anger like a hot coal. Let it go or get burned.
Continuing to hold onto anger long after an event is harmful only to ourselves, and it’s almost always due to some exaggerated selfish imagined slight that we’re trying to keep in order to FEEL a certain way. But the payoff is never what we want it to be. Feeling slighted can feel good in a tiny way, but the self damage from anger will make us unhappy to be around… especially if we’re acting like everything ok.
Here’s a trick… try empathy. Empathy is when we not only put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, but we also FEEL what they feel, and we think what they think. It’s easy to let go of anger when we can see the world through someone else’s pain. And if someone hurt you in the past they either didn’t know they were doing it, or they were in such a shitty place that they didn’t care they were hurting you. Which likely means they had so much of their own inner pain and suffering that they lacked the empathy that you’re now trying to use.
Happy people don’t go around hurting others, only injured people do. So if someone hurt you it’s because they were also coming from a place of pain and trauma. Their history brought them down a horrible road. And having a little empathy for them might show you that their carelessness had nothing to do with you at all, and everything to do with them. They were likely so wrapped up in their own life’s drama that they didn’t care about the others they were hurting, because they were just trying to escape their own pain.
I hope this make sense?
Basically let it go, don’t let the horrible life struggle of others become yours.